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Greenland AdventureGreenland Adventure

What a fantastic article about the flight to Greenland "Epic Flight: Greenland Adventure," October 2011 AOPA Pilot. Dave Hirschman's writing exactly exemplifies the spirit at the heart of anyone who loves aviation.

What a fantastic article about the flight to Greenland " Epic Flight: Greenland Adventure," (October 2011 AOPA Pilot.) Dave Hirschman’s writing exactly exemplifies the spirit at the heart of anyone who loves aviation.

When I first learned to ride a bicycle my immediate thought was: freedom. When I bought my first car I drove it outbound until I ran out of gas. As the proud owner of a beautiful Piper Saratoga I immediately opened SkyVector on my computer while reading Hirschman’s article to do some fantasy mission planning.

Realizing that an adventure such as this is possible with careful planning and precautions almost gives me the urge to tear out all the seats, fill the interior with a fuel cell, and head to Paris from Long Island. Thank you for an extraordinary article!

Alexis Geacintov, AOPA 2144431
Madison, Alabama

What a terrific article...and adventure! The slideshow is also great. This type of flying and reporting really gets the adrenaline flowing for an adventure of my own.

Reinhold Strnat, AOPA 3436045
Indianapolis, Indiana

Hirschman mentioned something that also crosses my mind quite often: “We think about the air crews who pioneered and built up these routes in the 1930s and 1940s, and the skill and courage it must have taken to navigate such vast, trackless, and lonely expanses with primitive navigation equipment and no reliable weather reporting.” Yes, indeed.  Excellent report and pictures; kudos to you all for just doing it—a heckuva journey.

J.E. Frantzen, AOPA 1295035
Seattle, Washington

I recall the summer day when I flew over Greenland on a commercial flight from Paris to Baltimore. It was early morning. Everyone else was still asleep, and I raised my window shade to see the most incredible expanse of wilderness with wormy roads to nowhere and not a house in sight. That was a sight I’ll always treasure, and I hope it never changes. I’m a student sport pilot; if you need to find a travel companion for such an adventure, call me!

Jane Elkin, AOPA 7179971
Annapolis, Maryland

I am an aged ex-Navy fighter pilot who just read of the three-airplane trip to Greenland. I was entranced and enjoyed reading of the adventure. It is the sort of thing I would have loved to do if I was 30 years younger. Your descriptions are vivid and, along with the photos, made it a great adventure for me also.

Donald Maunder, AOPA 051930
Fort Worth, Texas

Wow, the cover photo is probably the most striking and captivating I have enjoyed since my first issue in June 1967. Observe how sunlight, refracting through ice in the northern latitudes, reacts with newly hypothesized dark energy in extremely cold water to form the illusion of a third control surface on the “V-tail” Bonanza....

William Rapley, AOPA 33983
Surprize, Arizona

You caught us, Mr. Rapley. There were so many incredible photos to choose from, we had a hard time deciding on the cover. At the last minute we changed our minds—again—yet the text describing the previous cover choice had already gone to the printer. So, no, the cover doesn’t depict a V-tail Bonanza.—Eds.

AOPA Pilot hit a home run for me this month. Memories flooded back as I read Hirschman’s “Greenland Adventure.”  The trip to Sondey (as it was known in the 1970s) brought me back to my early Coast Guard flying. Every January we did a preseason ice patrol to check on that year’s crop of icebergs. We crossed the same expanse at 1,000 feet above ice level (albeit with four engines).

The second treat was “Drag Your Tail Cheaply” by Ian J. Twombly. In July 1970 (a year after earning my private certificate), I purchased my Cessna 140 for $2,100—my entire life savings. My 140 had been produced with fabric wings but converted to metal via STC. A $50-a-month stipend from the Coast Guard Academy was sufficient to pay for tiedown and gas. Who says you have to be rich to fly? 

Chris Burns, AOPA 1083903
Hanover, Pennsylvania


Tattoos in the air

I have not been so moved by a magazine article for some time, and am grateful for Alton Marsh’s obvious efforts and the gorgeous photography “Tattoos in the Air,” (October 2011 AOPA Pilot ). With the passing of Gordon Baxter, no one is writing about flying as food for the soul. There is a small subset of humans for which the act of defying gravity and viewing the world from above transcends simple need or convenience; it is a primal need, a passion. Some know it from an early age, some discover it after they’ve achieved financial success, some convert a casual interest over a lifetime. They all come to the same place.

It should not be surprising that, for some, body art reflects this passion. The article should be a gentle reminder to all of us that flying is no ordinary act; that we fight, we learn, we earn, and when we can finally look down at the retreating runway, we have come to a place where “lift” has a deeper meaning. Whatever your place in aviation, I would hope that the joy of your first solo stays with you. “Tattoos” certainly helped me remember.

Douglas Smith, AOPA 1168123
Lincoln, Nebraska

The article by Alton K. Marsh was disgusting. Marsh wrote the article despite objections from the majority of those responding to his query. Are we to believe that of all the relevant and important subject matter of interest to the membership that an article on tattoos is the best that you can produce?  I hope that you reprimand Editor in Chief Tom Haines for his poor decision to publish this article, and instruct him to get control of Mr. Marsh, or invite Mr. Marsh to seek employment elsewhere.

Scott E. Hansen, AOPA 947770
Charleston, South Carolina

Your last issue has compelled me to cancel my subscription to the magazine. Tattoos? Really? I have seen the quality of this magazine slowly decline for the last few years. Devoting pages to inane topics such as tattoos and topical arguments (“Dogfights”) detracts from the quality content for which this magazine has been respected in the past. I have today changed my subscription from AOPA Pilot to Flight Training. I sincerely hope Flight Training isn’t filled with fashion design and body piercing articles and focuses on relevant topics such as training and safety. I support AOPA and the service that it performs to keep general aviation alive and I understand that AOPA is more than just a magazine. However, I know you are capable of better when it comes to the content of this publication.

Michael Crowley, AOPA 1302697
Wake Forest, North Carolina

I just read Marsh’s article and I, too, consider this to be a new day. What’s up with all these stuffy guys? Weren’t any of them military? My grandfather was an aviation mechanic in World War II and he sure had tattoos! AOPA is always talking about how we need to encourage a new generation of pilots. Well, guess what, many of the new generation (including myself) have tattoos, so maybe these stuffy guys need to start being a bit more open-minded.

You wouldn’t know I have a tattoo unless I want you to see it—it’s above the sleeve line, as it should be. But when I display it in public at airshows, or even just around my airport, I get nothing but positive responses—even from the old guys!

Addrian Alcon, AOPA 6876035
Tracy, California

I was shocked to see that anyone associated with aviation would adorn themselves with garish tattoos. Even more disquieting was the fact that AOPA would publish such trash. Primitive societies from ages past employed tattoos, but in today’s circles such adornment can only be labeled as being associated with the motorcycle element of sport aviation which, unfortunately, seems to exist. I am amazed that the AOPA editorial staff would even consider the publication of an article such as this.

Charles C. Forrester, AOPA 968557
Fairfield, Pennsylvania


The ‘panic pull’

I was surprised that the article “The ‘Panic Pull’” (October 2011 AOPA Pilot) made no mention of glider instruction as an effective means of stall/spin avoidance training. In gliding flight, pilots experience the principles of energy management and attitude flying in a very clear way, with none of the confusion that occurs when thrust enters the picture. Soaring pilots develop an innate reflex to push the stick forward at the first sign of an incipient stall or spin, even in close proximity to the ground. This lifesaving reflex transfers nicely to power flying, helping pilots react appropriately to near-stall situations in all phases of flight. Please keep soaring in mind as a valuable tool for developing and strengthening the stick-and-rudder skills that are so critical for safely flying GA aircraft.

Matthew Sawhill, AOPA 4832545
Ankeny, Iowa

Finally, an article that gets much closer to the real reason why we have accidents in aviation. The FAA and NTSB do a great job of gathering data that we can put a finger on and say “The pilot did this wrong” and that is why this accident happened. But nowhere do we see true human factors being taken into consideration—the panic response in an unexpected situation, the lack of realistic training, the fear many pilots and instructors have of anything beyond 30 degrees of pitch or bank.

Unexpected stalls and loss of control on the runway are two of the most frequent incidents or accidents and both have the same underlying factors—the airplane is doing something unexpected and the pilot responds in the same manner he does 99.9 percent of his life—he uses that steering wheel to drive the airplane back where it should be. When it doesn’t work, they just try harder.

Nadine Yeager, AOPA 2684677
Memphis, Tennessee

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